This new adventure, to create content for the world’s greatest role-playing game started with the Reaping willow.
I’ve been part of the games media and consulted on game design for the past six years. I’ve been playing games for much longer. However, recently I’ve made the decision to start working for myself and this was the genesis. I hope you all join me for this ride and enjoy yourself along the way.
Last month while commuting to work I listened to Dragon Talk, the official Dungeons and Dragons podcast. It was not a recent episode. It was probably from December at the earliest. During the “Lore You Should Know” segment resident D&D lore expert Matt Sernett, @sernett on twitter, expressed his displeasure for monstrous trees. That got my mental gears going and I created this goof on the fly. So thanks Matt for planting the seed of creation in my mind and that seed giving birth to this gem, or is that mixing my metaphors and I should say sapling? Regardless, at least it’s not a wandering cactus. You’re welcome!
A tall slender tree that can reach upwards of 40 feet with a lifespan of 125 to 150 years. This deciduous tree can be found in temperate climates but can also thrive in arid soil. The Reaping Willow uses its long tendril like branches to ensnare unsuspecting victims and wrap them into a cocoon. These tendrils have an extremely high tensile strength yet are susceptible to being severed by sharp objects. If an animal is ensnared and tries to resist by pulling away from the tree it risks severing their appendage before it could possibly break the willow’s limb. Once encased a food source is slowly broken down by the acidic excretions in the willow’s limbs. After all the soft tissue has been completely digested the bones are absorbed into the trunk and become a part of the tree’s structure. The Reaping Willow is non- ambulatory and depends on catching prey through the element of surprise. This carnivorous plant is opportunistic and will eat any animal that it can lay a branch on. While it prefers to prey on small mammals, birds, and reptiles the Reaping Willow will eat a humanoid if it is desperate, and lucky enough, to catch one.
Large Plant, unaligned
Armor Class 13 (Natural Armor)
Hit Points 103 (15d10 + 20)
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
16(+3) 8(-1) 14(+2) 3(-4) 12(+1) 12(+1)
Damage Resistances: bludgeoning, piercing
Damage Vulnerabilities: slashing, fire
Senses: tremorsense, passive Perception 14
Challenge: 3 (700 XP)
Multiattack. The Reaping Willow makes two attacks per turn. If successful on the first Snare attack it will attempt to Encase its victim. If unsuccessful it will attempt to snare the victim again. The Reaping Willow can have up to 6 targets encased at once.
Snare. Melee weapon attack. +5 to hit. Reach 30 feet. 1 target. Hit 12 (2d8+3) slashing damage. If a character is successfully hit they are knocked prone and suffer from being grappled.
Encase. Melee weapon attack. +5 to hit. Reach 30 feet. 1 target. Target must be grappled. Hit 12 acid (2d8+3) damage. The Reaping Willow is starting to digest the target. The target will continue to be encased until they make a successful DC 10 (strength) check on their turn. Each round after the creature has been encased it will take an additional 12 (2d8+3) until it is freed or dead. This does not count as an action by the Reaping Willow.
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